MMFI To Organize Historic Gathering of Black Musicians in Kansas City


Pianist Jay McShann with his band (circa 1940), including saxophonist Charlie Parker (third from left). This image is in a gallery posted at the MMFI website.

(Photo: Jay McShann Collection/MMFI)

The Mutual Musicians Foundation International (MMFI) will hold a special event in Kansas City, Missouri, on June 16–18 to honor African American musicians who worked during the period of the 1930s to the 1970s. MMFI will hold an awards gala for surviving black musicians and performers of the “colored” unions begun by the American Federation of Musicians.

The foundation requests that all who may have belonged to a segregated musicians union (or were represented by a black organizer of the American Federation of Musicians) contact the foundation so that it can make arrangements for them to travel to Kansas City in June. Interested musicians should telephone (816) 612-0864 or send an email to this address: The deadline is April 31.

The Mutual Musicians Foundation, once known as Local 627, or the “colored” musicians union, began March 2, 1917, as a charter of the American Federation of Musicians.

“We recognize that few people in the world know of the contributions of these segregated unions to art and culture in America, and many of these great musicians and performers are in their late seventies, eighties or nineties and are dying daily,” said Anita J. Dixon, executive director of the MMFI. “We want to bring as many [artists] as we can find to Kansas City, do oral and video histories and preserve the memory of their talents for generations to come.”

For more details about the Mutual Musicians Foundation International, visit its website or its Facebook page.

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